Jonathan’s Story: A Time to Shine

The theme of International Literacy Day 2015 is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Literacy is a key driver for sustainable development. Literacy skills are the prerequisite for the learning of a broader set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, required for creating sustainable societies. At the same time, progress in areas of sustainable development, such as health and agriculture, serves as an enabling factor in the promotion of literacy and literate environments.  (Source: UNESCO)

In Namibia SERVE works with Young Africa. SERVE supports Young Africa Namibia through funding, capacity building and skills sharing. SERVE and Young Africa empowers young people to live independently, be self sustainable, and contribute to their community.

When you arrive in Namibia at Hosea Kutako International Airport there is a sign stating that, if harvested, 3% of Namibia’s solar energy could provide the whole of Europe with electricity. There is huge potential for solar energy in Namibia, and with continuously rising electricity tariffs as well as increasing load shedding, the popularity of solar energy is growing.

With the demand for solar technology growing, so is the demand for skilled people. When Young Africa expanded to Namibia there was no vocational training in solar technology in the country. So YA decided to introduce it, training young people the skills of installing and maintaining solar technology at its energy neutral skills training centre.

Jonathan Joseph was part of the first group of solar technology students who graduated from Young Africa in 2014.

This is his story.

Jonathan’s story

“Hello, my name is Jonathan Joseph and I want to share with you how Young Africa gave me a life to enjoy.  I am 23 years old and  last December (2014) I graduated from Young Africa’s first course in solar technology. The training took 9 months including a 3 month internship.  I am now working as an assistant teacher while doing my teachers training at Young Africa.

Jonathan teaching a class at Young Africa Namibia

Jonathan teaching a class at Young Africa Namibia

With the demand for solar technicians in Namibia it has always been my dream to take a career in solar technology, but there was no training centre for this technology in Namibia. Then I heard about Young Africa on the radio and saw posters advertising the course. I decided not to waste time but just to go and register for the course.

I am very proud and grateful to be a part of Young Africa. It changed my life in such a way that now I have a purpose to live and a career to follow. It changed my negative thoughts about life into positive ones. Before I joined Young Africa, I was trained in Carpentry and Joinery at another vocational training centre in Namibia, but I failed to make something of my life. Young Africa’s Life Skills programme really helped me to set goals and take life into my own hands. “If it is to be, it is up to me”.

The solar industry is growing very fast and so is the demand for solar technicians. In two years we are expecting it to double and for us to meet this demand we need more specialists in the field. Therefore I urge all young people who want to make a career as solar technician to join Young Africa’s course.

Jonathan installing solar panels

Jonathan installing solar panels

The training is really productive and successful as all the tools and materials to learn the practical skills are there. They must not be scared; it is not difficult. Anyone can do it if they give it their 100%.  The job market is waiting for them, so it is up to them to grab the opportunity and have a purpose to live.

My dream for the future, after having worked for Young Africa for a couple of years, is to start my own solar company. Young Africa’s entrepreneurship training gave me the ideas and skills to do this. Many villages in the north of Namibia are not connected to the grid, but they also need access to electricity. Solar energy is the way forward for them and I can bring it to them. I also want to help young people there, most of whom have no job or access to skills training. I will hire them and train them on the job, giving them the tools to build a better future, just like Young Africa did for me.